Get off your (high) horse

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8:20am
I’m taking a risk as I start to write this, nothing as yet is certain and all this could be something over nothing or my opinions complete rubbish, only time will tell.

Yesterday, a club finally cottoned onto a release clause in one of our better player’s contracts and bid the requisite amount that allow them to speak to him. Now as I see it that is the only fact that surrounds all the rubbish that has been said over the past few days about Nathan Levi Fontaine Ellington. Most of this seems to be based on the opinion that he’s already talked to West Brom and the assumption that as he has so far rejected resisted Latics’ attempts to extend his contract he’s going to jump at the chance to leave.

Now I can understand people’s concerns about this situation, but to be personally abusive to the lad, talk about booing him on his (potential) return and even go as far a suggesting our players should physically assault him if they play against him is just plain ridiculous. The fact is that if our players are good enough they are always going to move on, not because we are a selling club but because there a few better options out there than playing for Wigan Athletic.

People seem particularly riled that the other club involved in this is WBA, why? Some question the logic of allowing one of our players to join a team that are likely to be among our rivals for survival. This is fair enough, but if he goes we won’t have ‘let him join’ them; we have little option. Most people though seem to be basing their objection on some alleged ‘bitter’ rivalry between the clubs.

This is nonsense, West Brom aren’t Bolton, Stoke or Preston. Their not even Oldham, Bury or Blackpool. The only connection between the two clubs is our failed promotion bid season before last. Oh and that a few of their fans like to post crap on one of our message boards, something they do because they know they’ll get a rise and no one else will take them on. Let it go, the Baggies are just another team, one, that if I’m honest, is a better prospect for survival (at this point) than we are.

Anyway, away from all that, is ‘the Duke’ going to leave us? There’s only one person who can answer that, and it’s not Tony “am I an agent or aren’t I” Finnegan, it’s not a keyboard warrior from (near to) Birmingham, nor is it Bryan Robson, Paul Jewell or Dave Whelan. We’ll just have to wait and see. My feeling is that this is a bit of window shopping, and if what’s on offer in West Bromwich isn’t as good, or about the same as what we’re offering him (and there’s no reason what’s so ever why they would be offering him more) then I expect him in Mr. Whelan’s office, pen in hand before the end of the month.

If in the meantime, they or someone else, offers him a better deal then we either match it or not, if not it’s because our management don’t think he’s worth it, and it’s their jobs that are on the line with that decision. If, come the end of the season he’s got 15 goals for his new club and we’ve gone down, then it was a bad decision. If he’s spent all season in the hossie and we stay up, then all this will be forgotten.

4:50pm
As I said earlier, I was taking a risk starting to write this, but as I pick it up some 8 and some hours later, nothing has come out for definite, from any of the three camps. Apparently Jewell has come out and said that as far as he’s aware Ellington has agreed terms with West Brom, and pending a medical he’s their man, but none of the official comments are consistent with each other. Yesterday afternoon West Brom still hadn’t heard back from Latics or the player about talks. If they were coming out so early in the piece to let the world know about the bid, why not release that he’s agreed terms. As far as I can see, nothing’s sorted yet.

Taking things a little further, and proving that there’s a paranoid conspiracy freak in all of us, how’s about this? Agent alerts club B of release clause, club B makes bid. Agent’s plan is to frighten club A into offering player bigger deal, knowing that player doesn’t want to join Club B nor will they offer him what he’s recommended the player should ask for. Club A drag feet. Agent leaks story that player has agreed terms with Club B and is waiting for medical. No such thing has occurred. Club A guesses this and starts talking as if they are resigned to the player leaving, calling agent’s bluff.

That theory is probably rubbish, unless the bluff is more elaborate than I describe. Jewell also talked about having started looking for a striker and having two bids refused. If they were part of the bluff then surely the players’ names would have been leaked yesterday. Unless of course they were to replace Graham, who by the way has signed for the Wendys. I just don’t know any more, perhaps I’ve been working too hard. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what’s happened by the time I get home.

9:33pm
Right that’s it, I’m giving up on this. What started up as a quick run through the issue as I saw it has ended up all twisty turny upside down. I’ve still not seen the Jewell interview on Sky but the official site is telling us that despite being in talks with West Brom all day (they must have a lot in common, but it does strike me that a successful contract negotiation would take that long – especially if his agent has been sorting it out in the background) Ellington is still a Latics player, what’s more, he’s in contention for Sunday.

Maybe what’s needed is a Trisha type session. Nathan sat centre stage “I don’t know what to do” wrote large across the bottom of the screen. First up is PJ, the caring father figure, concerned about the undue influences on his protégé.

Next up is the drunken uncle, telling us that it would be better for him to come and live in his BIG mansion and finally his best buddy. He wants him to move in with the drunken uncle, so that he can cream a bit of money off Nathan’s, no doubt, higher pocket money or at least play on his new playstation. As Trisha attempts to help then through their issues there’s the inevitable fall out, the drunken uncle and best mate end up in fisticuffs “you promised you’d get him to move in with me”; “yeah but you said you’d give him loads of cash, man”. Cue PJ who moves in takes Nathan back under his wings and takes him home to score shed loads of goals.

Or maybe not.

I think the best thing is to leave this one alone for a bit until something happens. Let’s just hope that’s a review of his first goal in the Premier League and not a “loved and lost” style football obituary.

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